How to find the best subwoofer under $500 (updated 2017)

Best Subwoofer under $500

If you’re shopping for a new subwoofer, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of different models and brands, as well as sizes. It’s not easy, because when deciding on which subwoofer to get, you need to take a number of factors into account.

One of those factors is the price. How much money are you willing to spend? Remember, a subwoofer isn’t the only thing you might need to buy; there will also be speakers, cables, and other equipment as well, so you should plan carefully.

If your limit for a subwoofer is $500, you’re in luck. There are many great models to choose from, but what exactly is the best subwoofer under $500? Let’s take a look at some of the subwoofers that might appeal to you that cost less than $500.

 

SVS SB-1000

The first subwoofer we’ll mention is the SB-1000 from SVS. This is a 12-inch subwoofer, which comes in a stylish 13-inch cabinet with a beautiful black ash wood finish. It’s small enough to fit in pretty much any corner of a room, and you’ll be happy to know that the subwoofer comes with an unconditional 5-year warranty, which tells you a lot about the quality.

Features

For starters, we should mention that this model packs a powerful 300 watt Sledge DSP amplifier, rated at 300 watts, or 720 watts peak dynamic. The amplifier is complemented with an advanced DSP processor, which altogether provides you with a great listening experience. And with a frequency response of 24-260Hz, you’ll get plenty deep and powerful bass, with a smooth and accurate performance. SVS also took care of the distortion, thanks to their FEA–optimized motor technology.

Impressions

At just under $500, this model barely qualifies for the sub-$500 category of subwoofers, but its build quality and sound quality certainly make it recommendable. It’s stylish, but most importantly, it delivers strong, punchy bass with little distortion. It’s also a fairly compact unit, which is something customer reviews on the SB-1000 note. The general opinion on this model is overwhelmingly positive, with customers praising the bass performance in movies as one of its positives.

ELAC S10EQ

Another subwoofer that’s just barely under $500 – the ELAC S10EQ.  However, this one has higher power (400 watts), and it comes in a braced MDF Cabinet. However, what’s really interesting about this subwoofer is that it’s controlled via Bluetooth. You download an app on your phone, and that’s what’s used to control the subwoofer and customize the sound. The app is available for iOS, Android, and FireOS, and it gives you the access to, among other things, the 12-band parametric equalizer. The subwoofer can automatically equalize to the characteristics of your room, but if you’re not a fan of automation, you can easily perform manual equalization as well.

Features

The S10EQ is a 10-inch powered subwoofer with a passive radiator, and it has a frequency response of 28 to 150 Hz with a crossover frequency of 50 to 150 Hz that’s continuously adjustable. The cabinet itself features a black brushed vinyl finish, which makes the subwoofer quite stylish and elegant. This model will certainly fit in with any room, and any style that you might prefer.

Impressions

The majority of customer reviews on the S10EQ are positive. The subwoofer delivers strong, clean bass and good performance across different media types. Its design fits great with any home theater and system, and the overall quality is good, which is expected with the price. Whether you’re going to consider this model or not really depends on how much you like the Bluetooth control via app on your phone. Some customers also report crashing of the app, so keep that in mind.

Samsung SWA-W700

Here’s one familiar name – Samsung. Obviously, we’re not talking about mobile phones, but subwoofers, and in this category, the company has an interesting offer called SWA-W700. This is a 10-inch subwoofer which connects wirelessly to Samsung’s Sound+ soundbar, giving you excellent listening experience, with frequencies going as low as 27 Hz.

Features

This 10-inch subwoofer automatically connects to the Samsung soundbar, and furthermore, it will automatically tune itself. This model has a frequency range of 27Hz to 120Hz, which should provide you with plenty of deep bass for all the different content you might consume. Another important feature of this subwoofer is the Samsung’s Distortion Cancelling technology, which predicts and cancels out distortion before it even happens! Now, that’s pretty neat.

Impressions

The unit itself features a beautiful unibody design that’s both simple and elegant. It delivers good quality sound, and the build quality of this model gives you the confidence that it will last a long time. However, when purchasing this model, you have to bear in mind that it’s intended to work with the Samsung sound bar, so you’re dealing with a closed ecosystem, which might be a deal-breaker for some people.

Yamaha NS-SW300PN

For those wanting even lower frequencies, Yamaha’s got their NS-SW300PN subwoofer, sporting a gentle curve in the front, complemented with an elegant piano black finish. This is a 10-inch subwoofer, and unlike some of its competitors which hide the controls in the back (or get rid of them altogether), you’ll be happy to know that this Yamaha features a control panel on the front, which makes it super easy to control the unit.

Features

The NS-SW300PN is a 250-watt powered subwoofer which comes with Yamaha Active Servo Technology II, providing excellent sound and an overall memorable listening experience. You also get Yamaha’s Twisted Flare port which, unlike a conventional port, diffuses the turbulence and cuts back on the noise that can negatively impact the sound coming from the subwoofer. Thus, you get clear and accurate low frequency reproduction, which is crucial with every subwoofer. The frequency response of this model is 20-160 Hz.

Impressions

The overwhelming majority of customer reviews praise this model and its performance. The NS-SW300PN produces clear and tight bass, with both music and movies. The design is modern and elegant at the same time, which will certainly benefit any room. The price of this model is around $450, which will leave you with a little bit extra money to spend on some other pieces of equipment when you’re creating your perfect home theater setup.

REL Acoustics T/Zero

If design is at the top of your list of priorities when buying a new subwoofer, then you might just like this little guy. We’re talking about the T/Zero from REL Acoustics, a 6.5 inch down-firing subwoofer, which features a beautiful minimalist design that will fit in pretty much any space. The glossy black subwoofer (also available in glossy white) stands out compared to its competition, but there’s certainly nothing controversial about the design of this model, which is good.

Features

The company claims that this subwoofer is perfect for stereo or home theater systems, and that it will match well with smaller systems. Inside, you’ll find a 100 watt Class D amplifier – this power is less than what you might get with other subwoofers, but you do need to bear in mind the size of this unit. When it comes to the bass itself, this model will go as low as 38 Hz, which should be enough for most of the  content you plan to use it with.

Impressions

The T/Zero certainly makes a striking impression with its minimalist looks. You won’t find any controls on the front or the side of the unit; instead, everything you need is located at the back. There you’ll find the volume and crossover controls, as well as the low level and LFE inputs. When it comes to customer reviews for this subwoofer, most customers report having only good experiences with this model, noting good build quality, as well as sound quality. However, given the compact size, customers have made remarks about the bass not being deep enough. All things considered, this is to be expected, so it cannot really be considered a negative. It all comes down to what you expect from a subwoofer, and if you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of bass for the minimalist looks and compact size.

NHT SS-10

It’s yet another subwoofer that’s just barely under $500 – the NHT SS-10. It’s a 10-inch long throw powered subwoofer which, as NHT themselves say, was designed for audiophiles on a budget. In terms of design, this unit doesn’t particularly stand out, but it’s certainly not boring. With its stylish Japanese made gloss vinyl laminate finish, complemented with a recessed grille, this subwoofer pairs nicely with the company’s Super Series speakers, which sport the same design language.

Features

The SS-10 has a Class D amplifier whose power is 250 watts. The frequency response of -3dB at 34Hz means that you’ll thoroughly enjoy movies and music on whatever setup you have. You also won’t have to worry about any excessive noise or vibrations – NHT went a step further and lined the cabinet with a 1-millimeter thick sheet of aluminum, thus reinforcing the structure. On the back, you’ll find analog controls that let you customize the sound to your liking. The controls themselves are quite simple, so you won’t have a tough time figuring out whhich knob does what.

Impressions

At first sight, it seems like the SS-10 doesn’t have any feature that really stands out from its competition. Its design is quite conventional, and the controls are pretty simple, so the customization might not be at the level some people would prefer. However, the most important thing (or at least, what should be the most important thing) is the sound quality, and this subwoofer certainly doesn’t fall short in that department. With the SS-10, you get strong, punchy bass that will provide you with a superb movie-watching experience. It doesn’t need any gimmicky features to be able to really shine, and that could matter a lot to many consumers.

Velodyne Impact-12

For those looking for something bigger, Velodyne offers their Impact-12 subwoofer. As the name implies, this is a 12-inch subwoofer, but what you don’t find out from the name of this model is that its amplifier has a power of 275 watts. Another interesting thing about this subwoofer is that it uses down-firing port design which minimizes distortion and gives you cleaner bass. And all that from a fairly compact cabinet that will complement any audio setup you have.

Features

Now, let’s get technical. The Impact-12 packs a highly efficient MDP amplifier which generates more reserve power compared to the competitive IC amp designs. As for the frequency response, this model deals with frequencies of 29 Hz to 140 Hz, which should cover pretty much anything you expect from a subwoofer. Additionally, there’s the option of Phase adjustment that enables you to maximize bass blend with your existing main speakers and achieve optimal sound.

Impressions

The Impact-12 features a beautiful black lacquer trim, which we’ve seen on many subwoofers, and here it nicely complements the removable grille. Measuring 5.4 x 14.4 x 17.9 inches, this unit will blend in well with your existing speakers, if you choose to display it in a prominent place. As for the price, this model can be bought for $448, which is a good value if you consider that you’re getting a bigger subwoofer than with some competing brands. Finally, the sound quality, as reported by customer reviews, is good, producing strong and clear bass with no vibrations.

JBL Sub 250P

Another stylish subwoofer, and this time it comes from the folks at JBL. Its name is Sub 250P, and it’s a 10-inch subwoofer with a power of 250 watts. It features a subtle, yet striking design that will bring a modern vibe into any room. One of the reasons it has such a clean look is because the controls are rear mounted, so you won’t have to look at any unnecessary buttons or knobs. This model is actually part of the company’s Studio 2 Series, which all share the same design language.

Features

First things first – the features. This JBL subwoofer has a Class D high-efficiency built-in amplifier, as well as PolyPlas low-frequency transducer. And speaking of the amplifier, you’ll be pleased to know that this is one of the smartest amplifiers available, as JBL claims. What makes it so “smart” is its ability to cool itself naturally, thus being able to prevent burnout. Thanks to the 400 watts peak dynamic power, the bass experience will be excellent, and with a frequency response of 32Hz – 150Hz, you’ll get all the important frequencies for your movie-watching sessions.

Impressions

The slightly understated design of the Sub 250 is sure to be a hit among many consumers. The solid cabinet construction really gives you the sense of quality, and furthermore, there are no visible fasteners, which is a nice touch. The softly rounded edges add even more to the design of this unit as well. The overall quality is good, and that’s not just the case for what you can see on the outside. The sound quality that this unit produces is excellent, with deep, clear bass that will be music to your ears. Of course, in this price range, that really shouldn’t be a surprise. And speaking of financial things, the JBL Sub 250P is priced at $435.

Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S

Why not bring some color into your life? If you’re bored an all-black design that a lot of subwoofers come with, Cerwin-Vega might have just the thing for you. Their XLS-12S brings a dash of fiery red to its design, which makes it stand out among its competition. Of course, this subwoofer isn’t all about looks. It also comes with a power capacity of 250 watts (RMS). It’s quite a hefty unit, too, weighing at 48 pounds (or 21.7 kg for the metric folks).

Features

As it name implies, the XLS-12S features a 12-inch woofer, but what you don’t find out from the name is that it’s a cast frame high excursion woofer, created to give you the ultimate listening experience. The subwoofer itself covers a wide range of low frequencies; namely, its frequency range is 28 Hz – 150 Hz, enough for that deep and punchy bass that everyone expects. As for the sound customization, this model gives you level controls, as well as control over the continuously variable crossover from 50 Hz to 150 Hz.

Impressions

Of course, one of the first things you’re going to notice about this model is its striking red accent color, which makes the unit look very modern. And it’s complemented with the elegant black-ash finish, a more timeless design choice, that’s for sure. It’s not the most compact unit, as you would imagine from the 12-inch size of the woofer, but it will certainly fit in nicely in all rooms. When it comes to consumer reviews, this model fares well. The majority of online reviews regarding this subwoofer are positive, noting excellent sound quality, as well as build quality, which is to be expected at this price range. The XLS-12S is priced at just under $500.

Klipsch RP-110WSW

Why deal with wires if you can go wireless? That’s what Klipsch had in mind with their RP-110WSW wireless subwoofer. This model works in conjunction with the company’s Reference Premiere HD Wireless speakers, and most importantly, the Klipsch HD Control Center, which takes take of the wireless connection. It’s not something you can use with speakers from other manufacturers, so you have to think about this subwoofer as a link in a whole system.

Features

The RP-110WSW features a 10-inch long-throw Cerametallic cone woofer which produces excellent sound, thanks to its front-firing technology. Syncing this subwoofer with other wireless Klipsch speakers is easy, thanks to the company’s proprietary Smart Speaker Selector. With a touch of a single button, the unit connects to the HD Control Center, and the same goes for other speakers in the series. It all works quickly and intuitively, without having to use any wires whatsoever (well, besides the one used to plug the subwoofer itself to the AC outlet). The sounds quality is excellent, thanks to the lossless wireless audio transmission.

Impressions

The Klipsch RP-110WSW is not your everyday subwoofer, that’s for sure. First, it uses an innovative wireless way of connecting to the audio setup, which alone makes it stand out among its competition. On top of that, the combination of copper and black will surely enhance any room you put it in, adding a dash of modern styling to every space. But when thinking about purchasing this subwoofer ($499), you really need to remind yourself that this is meant to be used with other Klipsch speakers from the same series, so you’re looking at a more costly investment. However, if you have already planned a bigger budget for your audio setup, and you’ve set aside $500 for a subwoofer, then this Klipsch could be a great solution for you, especially if you want to experiment with new technologies.

Conclusion

The sub-$500 category of subwoofers gives you plenty of options to choose from, and finding the best subwoofer under $500 is certainly no easy task. In this price range, you can’t go wrong when it comes to the sound quality; however, some other factors might prevail when you’re making the final decision on which exact subwoofer to get. For example, the design. If you want to display it in a prominent place in your room,  you need to choose a subwoofer that will seamlessly blend in and complement the existing design. Conventional, modern, or minimalist? The choice is up to you.

Another interesting thing to think about when purchasing a new subwoofer is whether you want to go old-school, with a wired setup, or you want to have a more modern wireless setup that will give you more freedom in placing the speakers around the room. You don’t have to be particularly tech savvy to set it up, but the whole wireless series of speakers can get a bit pricy, so keep that in mind when planning your ideal home theater.

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